'Spintronic' Devices

Brookhaven scientists have been exploring ways to take advantage of an electron'€™s "quantum spin"€ in addition to its electric charge.

You can think of spin as somewhat analogous to the spin of a toy top, where the axis of rotation can point in any direction. But unlike a top, which can be slowed down, the "spinning"€ electron'€™s rotation is a quantum property -€” that is, a set amount that cannot change. By aligning the spins of multiple electrons so they all point the same way "-” known as polarization -€” scientists aim to create a current of spins in addition to a current of charges.

These "€œgraphene-magnet multilayers" (GMMs) are expected to retain their properties at room temperature, an important practical requirement for spintronic devices. By properly arranging the magnetization of the magnetic layer(s), they can be used to create a full spectrum of spintronic devices, including (re-)writable microchips, transistors, logic gates, and more. Using magnetism for spin manipulation also opens exciting possibilities for creating active, re-writable and re-configurable devices whose function changes depending on the magnetization pattern written on the magnetic medium.

Source: sciencedaily.comAdded: 15 May 2007